Basically we are in the middle of a unit on protein fabrication, so every day lately we’re dealing with taking something whole (or at least big) and breaking it down into its natural divisions. Having successfully vivisected fish, shellfish, and poulty, today we got cow.
We started with the short loin, which is basically dead center of the cow’s back from the top of the back to about halfway down the ribs on either side. (Behind the rib and in front of the sirloin.) That got divided into quarters, on which we practiced tying up a roast, and from there we cut it into steaks. These would be sold generally as New York Strip Steaks.
Next we were asked to pair up to deal with a tenderloin (from whence filet mignon comes) and a flank steak. Being that our class has an odd number of people, apparently my Hermoine-esque classroom tendencies earned me the right to not have to pair up, dealing with these rather large pieces of meat myself. (This is the part of this post where Dave starts snickering. Go ahead Dave…. You done? Good.)
I wish I could report that my know-it-all classroom manner translated into an equal amount of confidence when it came to actual butchering skills, but alas. Butchering is probably an apropos description. The tenderloin has all this clumpy, candle-waxy, fat all over it, plus some particular cartelege called “silverskin” that must be removed. The waxy fat comes off easy enough in handfuls, but the silverskin needs to be genly sliced off without taking too much usuable meat with you. And with twice the meat as anyone else was working with (Dave)but with the same amount of time, plus my OCD tendencies spazzing out over even the teeniest remaining pieces of silverskin, my result was none too pretty. We had a couple of sub teachers today in class, and one of them remarked that I appeared to have killed the cow twice. But he said it with a charming French accent so it didn’t seem so harsh. By the time I got to the flank steak I had a mountain of fat and various beef detritus sitting next to me and was really feeling like I was in the middle of some Sweeney Todd hallucination.
By 11:30 I was feeling pretty frazzled, but was immediately lulled into an Atkins-diet like stupor when lunch was served.